Business Cards – Then and Now

Business cards can be termed as the most important entity for any modern day professional. It is not difficult to understand why. Business cards, after all divulge such important information about an individual like his name, the organisation he is working in, the post he holds, his contact numbers and his e-mail ID. In addition to all this, business cards also give information about the organization one works in and the type of product it churns out. Surely, anything that gives such important information about any person can be nothing, if not important.

No surprises then those business cards enjoy very important status amongst people. However, it would be interesting to know how this phenomenon of business cards started. Well, business cards came into existence in the 15th century in China. In those days, their use was confined to the people belonging to the upper strata of the society. They used these cards to announce their arrival in a house hold. With the passage of time, this practice was picked up by the others as well.

In Europe, business cards marked their arrival in the 17th century. And England is the country that holds the honour of using the business cards for the first time in Europe. The merchant community held its strangle hold over the use of business cards initially. These cards included the name of the stuff sold by the merchants. One unique thing about the business cards used in England in those days was the use of maps guiding people to the shop.

Today, however, business cards have undergone complete change and are available in a wide variety of colours, design and price range giving people ample option to choose from. Though its would not be out of place here to state that simple business cards with all the information would be a far better bet than a flashy one.

European Travel Using Guided Tour Operators

If Europe is your destination for a great tour and getaway, you are probably in for a wonderful experience and a great adventure. You don’t want it to be marred with unpleasant experiences due to the lack of a well planned program! This is of the utmost importance to enjoy a perfect tour and if you are new to such international tours, especially to Europe, then you cannot ignore the advantages of getting help from professional Guided Tour providers for European Travel.

The first thing you need to do is finalize the list of destinations as Europe boasts a wide variety of tourist attractions spread out in all the countries of the European Union. Europe has a wide spectrum of attractions from historic sites of Greece and Italy to the ultramodern industrial world of Germany and the UK, to romantic sights of Venice and Paris. This wide choice makes narrowing down your destination to suit your tour duration and budget a tight rope walk. Guided Tour operators will help you to choose different packages offering the destinations and attractions which suit your taste and budget.

You must weigh the pros and cons of either choice and make a judicious decision. No doubt, you may like the adventurous spirit of being on your own and having a wonderful ‘letting go away from it all’ feeling. But you must also keep in mind the surprises you may encounter when traveling into unknown places and the inconveniences and sometimes nasty troubles you can get into, especially if it is your first ever tour of Europe.

Europe offers a mature level of modern conveniences and business like approach and facilities to tourists. Europe is made up of countries, of diverse cultures, languages, geographical features and history. This can cause unexpected problems, especially in the area of language diversity. Much of this can be avoided by proper guidance given by experienced Guided Tour operators. Europe consists of major developed countries and is well connected by extensive transportation facilities such as air, train, road and water. As most countries are developed and because of a heavy tourist population, you will find that the cost of accommodations will be a major component of your total budget.

This is where the experience of Guided tour operators comes in handy. You can avail of many discount offers on accommodations, transportation and hotel bills through these agencies. The agencies will also provide information helping you to enjoy a hassle free tour. From the planning stage to booking transportation, accommodations and making reasonably priced packages available, it is worth it to consider availing the services of an experienced and professional travel agent. This just ensures that your dream tour will not only be memorable but will also be smoothly conducted at the most economical rates.

Top 5 Cities to Visit in Europe

Europe is without a doubt one of the most popular destinations to travel in the world, and definitely a must seen. But you can get overwhelmed by the wide variety of cities to see and places to visit on each one.

The following list is merely an attempt to point you in the right direction, specially in case you don’t have a lot of time in your hands to wander every city, and it contains the top 5 cities you shouldn’t miss and some of the things you can’t avoid while you’re there in your first visit. By no means these are the only or the definitive things to see at this wonderful continent with so much to explore and enjoy, it’s just a little guide you can use to show you where you should start.

1. Pari­s, France

First of all, try to separate at least four or five days to explore the wonderful City of Lights. With an extensive cultural offer, there are, however some museums and attractions you should not leave out. From all the art galleries to see, it’s safe to say that if you take your time on the George Pompidou Museum of Modern Art, the Rodin Museum, with its garden of sculptures, and the Louvre, you have definitely seen the best of Pari­s art offer. Also, the Madame Tussaud Museum in Paris is a must for those who want to see the best pieces, which are reserved for this particular branch. Take your time in your sightseeing at night to go and take at least a look from the outside of the Moulin Rouge, it looks so much better all lighten up. Enjoy the view of the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, and take a good closer look at the gargoyle statues on the higher levels of the gothic Notre Dame Cathedral. If you have the time and means, try to visit the Versailles Palace; it’s nearby and without a doubt a unique experience.

2. London, United Kingdom

For a much vivid experience, don’t forget to ride the Underground metro (the tube, for the locals) and the famous red Double Decker Bus, if you have the chance. There are a lot of great artsy neighborhoods to visit, but if you don’t have a lot of time to explore the whole city, stick to central London, the Soho and the West End to get a good local feeling. Visit the charming Notting Hill, if you want to see the neighbourhood which inspire the movie. Ride the London Eye to get the best panoramic view possible of this city, not mention it’s a new experience all on its own. Take a tour through the London Tower and its expositions, if you want to experience and appreciate the historical meaning of the city. Visit the Tate Museum of Art, with one of the most extensive and eclectic collections of modern and contemporary art in the world, a definitely most seen for the art lovers. If you got the time, take a few hours to visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, and stand on the meridians diversionary line.

3. Rome, Italy

This ancient city has being around for more than three thousand years, so try to at least spend a couple of days exploring the roman ruins and another couple the catholic religious buildings. On the Eternal City, another name given its long-standing nature and sociological importance, you can’t miss the three most important ancient constructions, which are the Parthenon, the Coliseum (buying the audio guide it’s very useful to identify the dungeons and tunnels underneath) and take a long walk through the Roman Forum ruins. From the Roman Catholic part of town, even if you’re not religious, you need to go into the Vatican and see the magnificent St Peter’s Church, and stand under the roof of the Sistine Chapel to admire one of humanity’s most amazing creations, the fresco of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam

4. Madrid, Spain

if you don’t have a lot of time to wander around town, there are a few sites you shouldn’t leave without visiting. The Royal Palace, actual place of residence for the spanish Royal Family, it’s an impressive sight all on its own, mighty high and fortress like, with its 130 meters wall with hundreds of windows and balconies on it. Also visit the Door of Alcala (Puerta de Alcala), that use to be one of the entries to the fortress city, and see the Door of the Sun (Puerta del Sol), at the Plaza Mayor in the very center of the city, to meet the other one. For astonishing modern architecture buildings, you can’t miss the Madrid Arena (or Four Towers Business Area) where the tallest and most exquisite building in the country are located.

5. Amsterdam, Netherlands

First thing you should know, this is not your regular cosmopolitan city. Though one of the most important and visited cities in Europe, Amsterdam is actually much more candid than the rest of the cities listed in this countdown. Best way to tour across it is on the tram or by bicycle. Actually, those are the main means of transportation for the locals, along with vespa motorbikes and smart cars. The architecture of the narrow houses spreading all around the XVII Century canals gives the whole city a magical tone. Try to book a boat tour through the main canal for a wider look at the city, not just the main streets. From the variety of choices on the museum offer, the ones that stand out are the Stedelijk Museum of modern art, the Museum het Rembrandthuis, than contains Rembrandt’s actual workshop, and the Van Gogh Museum, where the vastest collection of the authors work in the world is located. If you have the time, don’t leave without having toured Anne Frank’s House with his father factory underneath, it’s a remarkable and emotional reminder of Holland’s history. And if you arrive in spring, take the short trip to Keukenhof right around the time to see all the tulips blossom, for sure it’s a sight you won’t forget.

Europe Travel – Explore the Most Beautiful Continent in the World

If you are planning your vacations then a tour to Europe would be the right choice. It is the most beautiful continent in the world and for exactly this reason one should visit this lovely continent. The established fact about Europe came out in the year 2004 when World Tourism Organization declared it as the biggest travel spot in the world. In this year 54% of the world’s travel business came from Europe only. Europe travel will give you an opportunity to see various tourist destinations that can refresh your mind and will definitely make your tour unforgettable.

Europe comprises of various countries that are very rich in travel destinations. These countries have various landmarks that can cater every kind of traveler. All kind of travelers has different traveling needs. Some loves to visit beaches, museums, Churches and some loves to enjoy sports adventures. Also Europe travel offers a chance to visit various historical monuments Scenic beauty of this continent has always attracted a keen and potential visitor. The places to discover, here, are endless.

Major countries which are part of Europe travel are United Kingdom, France, Greece, Holland, Iceland, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Rome, Switzerland and Turkey. Each of these countries has some world famous tourist location where a traveler can learn history, natural beauty and lots more. Traveling to these countries of Europe could be a lifetime experience for you.

Europe travel is one of convenience. In Europe, mode of transport are fully recognized and well managed. Various countries in Europe are famous for their rail networks. However this lovely continent can be seen through ship, railways, air transport and even through roadways. European countries are well developed with high living standards, culture and traditions.

Europe travel is the right combination for every kind of traveler. The countries of Europe are a must visit in a lifetime. So, if you were planning your trip then pack your bags and move to Europe, the real paradise on earth.

Hotels in Europe – What Are the Deciding Factors?

It is difficult to have fun and relax these days with a hectic work schedule. Most of the individuals are missing that innocence and fun from their life. Europe is one of the most liked holiday destinations. You can book your suite after exploring the lists of Europe hotels from online directories.

Though it is quite difficult to choose the right accommodation. We look for a place which is affordable yet comfortable and enjoyable to stay in. There’s a wide range of accommodation available in Europe that will meet your needs. So, whether it is a business trip, a romantic get away, or a family vacation, Europe is the place for you to be in.

There are thousands of hotels in Europe. However do take care while booking your hotels in Europe as many people there are constantly waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists who are not familiar with things like room tariffs and transportation costs in European cities.

Your Europe tour budget depends a lot on your budget as well. Due to the cost factor many people end up avoiding these places. Lack of proper search options many a times result in people not finding the right option for a good discount offer for a European hotel. Internet has become an important medium to search good European Hotels. You can choose a hotel of your choice through online European travel guides that are available to help the tourists find a good European Hotel.

The online sources help people to explore options available for stay in Europe and book one in advance. There are around 30,000 hotels in major cities,towns and villages of Europe. And the online bookings are secure and instantly confirmed.

Some of the famous and affordable hotels are situated in Nice, Cannes, Lyon, Toulouse and Strasbourg in Paris, Edinbourg, Blackpool, Manchester and Torquay in London, and other famous European cities.

There are various European travel guides too available that helps to select discount hotels in Europe. To name a few Albufeira in Portugal, Amsterdam in Netherlands, Antwerp in Belgium, Athens in Greece, Berlin in Germany and many more. And a discounted hotel deal doesn’t mean you will have limited comfort. This means you can enjoy the luxury of a star hotel at the price of a discounted hotel in Europe.

People also look for this feature while choosing hotel in Europe. Whether these hotels offer good amenities in reasonable prices or not. And, the answer is yes! Good hotels do offer luxury comforts within a limited budget, and they are generally located near the heart of the city, at a picturesque setting, close to international airports, and metro stations. Therefore get set to have an interesting trip to Europe and do remember to check into a nice European hotel.

Hockey Tours – 7 Tips For a Successful Hockey Tour in Europe

Everybody in Canada is attracted to the old countries. The wide range of amazing places to visit and discover in Europe are almost too numerous to count. And since our national sport is played by almost one half of the active population, it’s pretty obvious that most people will someday be attracted to play on a foreign ice while visiting all the historical places around.

But sometimes, people get overexcited about their upcoming trip and too often they plan the tour without thinking about all the issues that can arise before, during and after the tour. There is different kind of trips that goes with different kind of teams (oldtimers, girls, minor, etc…). A sports tour is more complicated than a regular trip and there is no simple way to take care of every details. That is why the next 7 tips should be considered as the basic advices to follow when planning this kind of tour and it doesn’t matter if you are a player, a coach or a manager; everybody should follow a guideline because group travel is not the same as going on a vacation alone.

1- The decision, the team and the commitment:

Of course, once the decision is made to go on a hockey tour, the first thing to do before moving forward is to have a team ready to work and follow you to make it happen. If your group is not involved in every aspects of the preparations, you won’t be able to make them participate in all the upcoming activities.

It’s important for every single member of the group (player, parents and coaches) to realize that they all have some part to do and that it’s not possible to complete the project without their help. Once you are sure of their commitment, make sure that YOU are ready for the biggest task which is to make the moves since someone has to do it in the end.

2- The agency

A lot of people think they are smart enough to plan the tour by themselves and of course it’s possible to do it. With the power of the internet and all the resources online, someone with a lot of free time and determination will be able to “patch” a decent schedule. But the fact is there is so many unknown aspects and so many things to think about, that most of the time, the trip will end up a disappointing experience.

People have to understand that there is just too many things to settle for a single person with no experience or contact on-site. The most difficult part being to plan the games or tournament with all the aspects surrounding it: transport, lodging, insurance, local guide, language barrier, quality, distances, visits, support, etc…

There is a lot of companies that organize sports tours and some of them are good of course. The problem is most of them are only travel agency putting a mask on and claiming to be specialists when somebody tells them about including sports. The truth is you need an agency that ONLY DO HOCKEY TOURS. Why? Simply because every member of the company is specialized and passionate about the same thing as you and also because they most probably have a lot of experience in both of the designed field of competence (Hockey and Europe).

To really know what can happen during a stay in a particular country, you need someone who has been there and know about all the aspects of the place. This same person probably lived the same kind of experience like the one you want to accomplish so he knows exactly what you need to do to make sure the trip is a good as it can be.

There is some good companies around but they are pretty expensive since they have so many staff members to include on their payroll.

3. The budget, the destination and the length

Probably the toughest part of the procedure. Following your agency expertise, your team needs to agree on a destination, a length and of course a realistic budget. The most frequent major mistake from travellers is planning to see too much! “Yeah and why not?” you say. “Europe is small so we can get everywhere in no time.” While that is true, the cold hard fact is that you will have a painful trip if you decide to move around too much.

Travelling by bus (even superior coaches) more than 2 hours per day can get very annoying for everybody and the mood can drop quickly. The other thing to think about is the kind of road ahead. Even on highway, the buses are often limited to 90km/h and since you most probably have some mountain roads to pass along the way, you will then be moving at an average of 40-50km/h. So a 100km itinerary that seems to be pretty short on a map can end up taking 2 hours in reality.

That is why you need to choose 2 or 3 “headquarters” to split you trip in a convenient way. You’ll be sure to avoid missing some great stuff while enjoying short ride and keep the spirit up. For example, a 10-days trip can be split in 2-3 major centers that are separated by 200-300 km. This way you won’t be sleeping in 6 different hotels which would involved a lot of packing and unpacking, and you will also have only 2 or 3 “transport” days that won’t waste an entire 24h on moving around.

The length is also crucial for this kind of trips. Do not forget that you must count 2 full days for the round-trip by air. With the time changes and the duration of the flights, a 10-days trip is in a fact a 8-days on-site tour. That is why a single-week journey is not advised since you will be running around without seeing much and come back more tired than before the departure. Depending on your budget, keep the tour between 10 and 15 days.

The other conflict that can arise is the allowed budget. Keep in mind that with all the fees involved, it is NOT realistic to think of going on a hockey tour for 900$ or even 1900$ (except for small trips). The airfares alone range betwenn 1000$ and 2000$ depending on your destination. That is a big chunk of money. The budget will also depends on the country and the choice of accommodations which can greatly affect the experience.

Just remember that not all countries play hockey year-long and also that you won’t be staying too much at the hotels, so do not target 5-stars or even 4-stars resorts. Anyway, most 3-stars hotels in Europe are excellent and affordable. Of course, it’s cheaper to stay a bit out of a city’s “hot spot” and it doesn’t matter much since the bus and subway systems are much more develloped and affordable than here.

4- Fundraising

Most of the time, your team will have to think about fundraising for at least half of the total price. While not a favorite part of the preparation, it’s still a necessary one since nobody wants to cut on the quality of a once-in-a-lifetime tour. That is why you have to find original and fun ways to make everybody participate.

The most easy way is sponsorship but you have to knock at a lot of doors to find substansial money. It’s more realistic to find traditional ways which I will not start to enumerate her. Give yourself time since you need a lot of ideas to find the best activities.

5- Final preparations

An important part of the final preparations is to schedule regular meetings with everybody to make sure they do not forget anything. Unexpected things can and WILL happen during a tour and it’s better to be fully prepared for every surprises that may pop on-site. The biggest issue is probably insurances.

Actually, while it’s very important to have this detail settle in priority, it’s also fairly easy to find some good insurance around. There is a lot of options which are in most cases very affordable and complete. Since some persons are already covered by their job or own insurances, it’s better to make people have their own protections and of course bring documents on-board.

You should insist on having all kind of required and useful papers in a binder kept by the agency consultant or a trustful people if you are travelling without a guide (not recommended). These should include allergy notices, medical notices, insurance coverages, passport photocopies, detailed contact numbers for every passengers, all the contact information for the various destinations, plane tickets copies, etc…

A detailed itinerary should also be provided for every group member and all useful resources be given on it just to make sure they can get around if lost or in trouble. Of course, all those kind of details are supposed to be taken care of by the agency if you have chosen to use one. The team should have some “rules” or guideline to follow since they need to remember that they won’t be home and that they need to stay all together most of the times. Depending on the number of travellers and parents going along the team, it should be decided before the trip who is responsible for each traveller who will be of minor age at the time of the trip. Minors who are NOT travelling with their parents need to follow some rules to avoid any problems at the customs or on-site. A visit on the website of the foreign affaire ( [http://www.voyage.gc.ca/consular_home-en.asp] ) is very informative for all the details.

Also make sure that everybody has some local money on them at the time of departure but not too much since nobody wants to be stolen a large amount of cash if that should happen. Everybody should be aware of the current ratio of the canadian dollar vs the Euro (or else if going to an independent currency country). Check out oanda.com to have a real-time converter.

6- On-site

Again, if you have a guide travelling along with the team, it should be pretty easy to go around without encountering too many problems. If some issues arise, the guide is there to take care of everything and arrange every aspects of the trip to accommodate the groups. But keep also in mind that it is IMPOSSIBLE to please everybody at the same time so the group need to be aware that their will be some compromises to be made along the way. Most of the time, those will be minor details but their is also some rare times when the team will have to make a though decision. Fortunately, the chances are that the guide will find the best solution using his own experience.

A typical day on a tour usually follows the same path: Visits or guided tour in the morning, free-time and suggested visits in the afternoon, game in the evening and free-time in the evening. On travel day between two locations, the guide will probably have scheduled stops along the way to include interesting visits while splitting the road time. Again, you should not spend too much time on the road.

Visits that we’re included on the itinerary should always be covered by the agency as well as all the meals that we’re supposed to be included. The breakfast being the most important meal of the day, the hotel choice should be largely based on the quality of food provided. A breakfast buffet is always a winner since you can find things for all tastes. For the others meal, your guide will probably have scheduled some typical food for one of them and leave the other one to you. This way you can experienced the diversity of culinary culture and also eat what you prefer to be fully refreshed each day.

Security should be a very important part of the planning and like I told earlier, nobody should have too many cash on them. Also make sure that the money is well hidden and not easily spottable on you. This apply especially to handbags since they are pretty easy to steal and some thiefs in Europe are specialised in those kind of business, just like anywhere actually. In fact, you should not bring conventional wallet or handbags and use some safe devices like hidden pockets and belts.

Another important detail for security is to be aware of the basic local laws and traditions. Some countries will not accept things that seems pretty okay here. Always make sure there is some adults with kids and do not trust your child to act like an adult by himself, he is NOT. That is why the parents should acts as respectfully of the locals as they want them to be with their kids. This will in no mean ruins the trip since there is plenty of way to enjoy the tour without messing around.

It would be advised to design one traveller to take as much pictures and videos as possible since it will be appreciated and useful if somebody loses his equipment. Most people will also want to make a souvenir cd or dvd when returning home.

Finally, ALWAYS listen to your guide and/or local guides that will join you during the tour. They will not say something if that is not useful so pay close attention to what they say and do not hesitate to ask questions.

7- The aftermath

You will probably have a lot of memories to bring back home and will become nostalgic of the time when you we’re in the old countries. So it would be a great idea to throw in a celebration some weeks after with all the group where you can exchange thoughts and pictures about the trip. A report meeting should also be done to conclude with the finance and things to correct if you plan on having another trip.

To conclude, every hockey player from 7 to 77 years has thought of doing a memorable experience by playing hockey in Europe. Even if it can seem fairly easy to organize, the truth is that it’s much more complicated than planned if you do not deal with some true specialists. Take your time to choose the destinations and all the options your group needs before moving forward. Every details should be prepared and everybody should be ready to deal with all the unexpected issues.

There is no perfect trip, but you can make the most out of it by following this guide to organize a hockey tour to remember!